Monday, December 31, 2018

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

After a month or so with no word from us - we do need to let you know that we are still here.  December has been a relaxing/fun/exciting month.  We've spent some time reacquainting our love with La Cruz.  She's 12 years older, but still feels comforting to us.

We've been out at the anchorage taking most days to explore the area.  One day brought us back to San Pancho - a great little town if you are looking for a vacation from the rat race.

We've been attending Spanish classes, and running errands fixing little things aboard Pura Vida that need attending.  Currently, we do have another project going on.  Ever since we purchased Pura Vida, we've been wanting to upgrade her dodger (the blue windshield looking thing on her which is made of fabric) to a hard dodger.  We intended this before we left, but called enough on spending money.  Enough time has passed and we are moving forward with the plans.  We are having one fabricated here in La Cruz and hopefully, we'll have it installed in a week or so. This is a big labor-intensive job, so getting it done here in Mexico makes a lot of financial sense.

About once every week, we've had a day out of the anchorage to pump out, run the watermaker and shake out the sails a bit.  One of the highlights was sailing over to Los Arcos on the other side of Banderas Bay......  super beautiful but crowded with day-trippers.  We checked out the rest of the Bays heading South till we came to Quimixto.  The other bays were deep and creepy to bow and stern in, whereas Quimixto had a nice little shelf we felt could comfortably hold our anchor with some swinging room.  So we dropped the hook to stay awhile.  As the evening grew, we felt comfortable with our little shelf and decided to spend the night.

Then, as the night grew on...... Mother Nature decided a little lesson was in order to remind us of our night at anchor in Yelapa and why we should trust the internal rules we make for ourselves aboard.

You see - last time we were here, we spent an uncomfortable rolly night at Yelapa (though that time our swing had us in depths of 30 ft to 70 feet).  Old hands of this area will tell you the Southside is not a good anchorage - uncomfortable and rolly.  Of course, we love to test the old salts......As morning rose in Yelapa - We vowed not to anchor on the South side of Banderas Bay again.

Now, here we are testing those guidelines again.... and yes, here we are in the morning, renewing our vows to not anchor on the South Side of Banderas Bay - No matter how enticing the calm sunset is.....

Los Arcos

Sketchy Bow and Stern try had us about 40 feet from shore.....

Another beautiful cove


Other highlights are exploring the area with new friends, enjoying live music _ Tatewari is a standout - wonderful night. 

We put the boat in the marina to return to the Bay Area to spend Christmas with Greg's mom.  Everyone in the family headed to Kim's house to spend the holiday and her 80th birthday with her.  Special bonus: Rick brought Clewie so I got to get some cutest little girl time.

A Quinceanera celebration (a girls' 16th birthday) - total of 4 bands playing till 3 am.

We all know this love of my life - Clewie.

Greg and his brother, Rick.

We spent a day getting Christmas gifts for a little boy in an orphanage...  Greg got to pick out a remote control car

Beach play time with cruiser dogs.

Loving the music with Leon the washboard guy standing in.

Don't think street dogs (whether owned or not) will ever grow tired on me

The jollyist Great Dane ever.....  Love to see him sauntering down the street toward us. And yes, he has a home.  Most of the dogs we see now, do have homes - they just run free during the day.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Magdelana Bay

Magdelana Bay is a sweet little surprise.  We had watched some of our favorite You Tubers talk about the mangroves and that really lit a fire with us to add it to our list to check it out. 

** If you are enjoying the cruising tales, we highly recommend Adventure Adrift:
Check them out.

We had already met them previously in Berkeley, so they knew we were headed that way, so while in Man of War Cove we sent them a facebook message that we had made it and were heading into the mangroves the next day.  To our surprise, they offered to send their tracks to us and their anchor spots.  Since the mangroves are basically uncharted (you can see the mangroves on a chart, but no depths and identifying marks as to where the deep spots are) - this was much appreciated.  Their tracks overlayed onto a google earth image gave us confidence as we motored off of our charts.

The next few days was a "Chronicles of Narnia" experience.  

The beautiful powder soft sand against the flat water along with the green mangroves with the only sound being from the ringing in your own ear.  Stunning doesn't come close.  Magical and otherworldly is closer to the feeling.

To our surprise dolphins were also in the mangroves and regularly swam and fed along the shore as the tide went out.  

We got the boat toys out to play - though only at slack tide

It was beautiful to just watch the tide go down - the scene changed dramatically as the waters ebbed out and flooded back in.

Fun Videos:
Greg playing on the sand dunes:

End of the line of the mangroves:

Stillness and Quiet of the Mangroves:

Planing in Buzzy back to Pura Vida:

After a few days, we headed in to check out Puerto San Carlos.  For adventurous folks, we highly recommend it.  It was a stark change to any other town we've been in because no one spoke English.  We needed to really buckle down and prepare for our conversations.  We did find one person who spoke English who remembered our You Tube friends fondly - so we were able to pass on their good wishes.

We anchored just north of the town and landed the dinghy on the beach just behind the makeshift breakwater (notice the overturned hull of a ship strategically placed).

And when we got to shore and spoke to the dockworkers, we mentioned we had been out exploring the mangroves.  We were met with the response, " oh yes, I heard you were out there".  This little area gets so few sailboats, when we visit - we are literally the talk of the town. It was a fun experience that everyone seemed to be aware of us and where we were.  Also, Fishermen out with their kids would follow along with us as we motored back to San Carlos.  Fishing boats would also snap photos of us as we were anchored.

We stocked up with veggies and decided to ride the flood out one afternoon and keep going to La Crux de Huanacaxtle about 3 and a half sailing days away

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Making Tracks South

Pip super excited about her beach romp..... Luckily she comes with a handhold.

Since we last left, we pulled into San Quintin to wait out some heavy wind further down the coast.  Other than being in a wind hole allowing us to endure 10 - 15 kts instead of 35-40 kts, the surf was really too big to attempt to go ashore.  So we fished (to later enjoy smoked mackerel) and played games aboard while listening to the pounding surf and dune buggies/motorcycles zipping along the beach.

Sunset at San Quitin....  just NICE......

After a day and a half, the wind mostly blew itself out and we headed off to make tracks South for an overnight to Turtle Bay. 

Happy with our at sea visitors...

When we arrived folks were sharing dramatic wind stories and we were happy not to have any to share.  We also bumped into some friends again who we met earlier in Ensenada.  Beyond being super nice and fun and interesting, they have 2 dogs who decided we weren't too bad to hang with.  Awesome - got to get the doggie feels.  And also awesome to get to know cruising friends better, Brad and Sonni and Mac and Pip.  Check them out :

 Beautiful Pip...

Mac couldn't understand me taking a photo instead of just throwing the stick...

We spent a day or so walking around Turtle Bay, exploring the town.

Interesting Comparison:  Both of the below photos were taken on the main street facing the same direction (see the mountains for reference in the background.  Unfortunately, I wasn't on the same spot in the street)  First from 2006, and then the second from 2018....

From 2006:

From 2018:

Other town photos :

We did chores, such as getting rid of our two-week old stinky trash.

This sweet muffin enticed us to come over to say high and expressed his thanks for the attention with hand licks and the ever so gentle weight of his big head in my hand (~swoon~).  Much to the laughter of his neighbors.

Folks were talking about visiting Bahia Ascension....  Since the wind was going to be very light over the next couple of days and it was on the way to Mag Bay, we decided to check out the town.  S/v Luego had gone a day earlier and stocked up on some yummy streetside carnitas which is only served on a weekend.   Since we arrived Sunday around dinner time - we nailed the timing thing and got to enjoy carnitas and some of our fresh sushi for dinner (we pulled in our first Dorado)

The next day, we wandered around town and caught up on some shopping.  Ascension is all about the flour tortilla....  First time I recall seeing flour tortillas as the main option here.  These flour tortillas reached out and pulled us in....  YUM....  We were eating them out the door.

Soon, the wind was up and we set out for another overnight to Bahia Santa Maria.   Since we wanted to fish again, we offloaded most of our Dorado catch to s/v Luego.  Good thing, within the first hour we were pulling in our second Dorado.

It took a couple hours for the wind to fill in, but eventually, it did, then the next 26 or so hours had us sailing along nicely.  In the morning, Greg decided to check the rudder connections for the autopilot because he thought he heard a weird noise.  Good thing, because the bolts were starting to work their way out....  so, we had a little at sea repair while we hove to (a way of stopping the boat for those non sailors).

Before dark, we pulled into Bahia Santa Maria where we found - yep, you guessed it, some new cruiser friends.  Some folks we had met in Turtle Bay and some others that we've heard about through a mutual friend in Berkeley.

On the way in, we were reminded the next day was Thanksgiving.  So, when Jessie of S/v Sabbatical came rowing over when we pulled in, we suggested a Thanksgiving potluck on their boat (they have a catamaran).  She checked with everyone when she returned and the potluck was on.  Love these impromptu gatherings.....

After relaxing the following day, we headed out to make our entrance into Magdalena Bay.  The guidebooks say to be aware of currents when entering, so we wanted to be close to slack when we entered.

That's the entrance from sea.  Between the Dark closer point and the light colored more distant point.

We were trying for about a .4 knt ebb (that was the soonest we could make it) and although we arrived as planned, we had a 2 knot current against us.  Other than that, it was uneventful and we pushed through the opening, then spent the next couple of hours tacking back in the direction we just came from to the protected anchorage at Man of War Cove.

Until....  BAM!!! POW!!!!  and the Genoa starts flogging and coming down.....  Quick assessment and we realize the halyard attachment point for the Genoa exploded.  So....  more repairs at sea, but this time we are just outside the anchorage so it can wait.

We got in, put the dinghy in the water with high hopes of dinner ashore but returned after a walk around the small town in which we learned not only was the restaurant closed, the tienda was out of food.  No worries, we had food aboard and only wanted to freshen up veggies, we still have long-lasting varieties to last us a few days.

Puerto Magdalena

Boat repairs in exotic locations.

The next morning, we rose before the sun to start getting the Genoa hoisted again.  This involved Greg going up the mast to fetch the halyard, then raising the genoa back on its track.  By 7am, we had finished and we pulled anchor to ride the flood into the mangroves.  The forecast for Monday and Tuesday is for light winds, perfect for exploring the mangroves.

Couldn't resist a quick trip ashore after arrival.

This is one of the most beautiful places we've anchored...  the mix of the sand dunes/mangroves.flat water is stunning.  Can't wait to see more of it.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Apology to Casper

First off, Casper is our wind Generator.  He recharges our batteries when the wind blows.

Readers of our blog might remember a story in which I mentioned a number of installation troubles we were having with Casper.  They got sorted out eventually after a couple replacement parts and controllers (one experience on the way from the Channel Islands to the mainland which resulted in a panic search for where the smoke was coming from).  Ok, with this history, I guess I expected payoff..... as in a decent contribution to our battery bank.  So far it seems that Casper had been loafing around and spinning, but not really contributing. 

So when folks would ask me about him, I would speak my mind which wasn't too favorable toward Casper being a valuable member of the Pura Vida Crew. 

This has now changed.  Some sort of weather system has been blowing through over the past week and the wind has been honking (as Don on Summer Wind used to say).  It's also been cloudy.  But Casper...  He's kept our batteries topped up Day and night.  Literally, we wake to topped off batteries as if we were plugged in.  It's glorious.

You see, power is REALLY REALLY important out here.  Being away from dockside shorepower, it's that power in the batteries that keep all the things we're used to going: autopilot, chart plotter, sat phone, cell phones, laptops, Kindles, cameras, headsets, air compressor, and when we are feeling really lazy, the microwave.  I'm sure everyone has their list of power hogs aboard.  We try to ditch them, but they keep worming their way into our lives as necessities - or really desirables.

So, Casper, I'm sorry - I will update personally those who I have spoken ill of you to - you are a valuable Team Pura Vida member.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

PV Tales: A tale of 3 Melissa's

Here we are anchored in Isla San Martin......

Our friends s/v Blue Heron suggested we stop here because it was such a neat place and they were here as well, having a great time...... we happened to be on the way to an anchorage a little past it, so we did a pass by and yep, it seemed great, so we pulled in.  Now the woman aboard Blue Heron is also named Melissa.

Shortly after, we noticed another boat pulled in and dropped the hook - that makes 4 boats.....  And 9 cruisers in this little volcano island.

On a trip to shore, while talking to a guy in the fishing camp (where folks come to work for a week or two, then return home to visit their families), we met the folks on the new boat - two guys and a woman named Melissa.....

There's a pretty good chance there are no women currently working at the fishing camp, as most women are at home in these men's hometown with the kids.  So, on this tiny island off of Mexico, there are 3 women and they are all named Melissa.....

What are the odds? (that's not a real question for all the smartass people I know.....)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Baja Coast - Yes, Mexico

Hard to believe, but I'm writing this while at anchor in our latest favorite anchorage.  There are folks here fishing lobster, sheepshead and other fish, and harvesting seaweed.  And they have wifi ashore which we can reach from our boat.

While talking to Sergio, one of the fishermen on the island, we learned that the fish they catch here are being delivered alive to Chinatown in the Bay Area.....  Oakland is one of the locations with a contract.  I find this funny since I used to work there.  

Oh, the island, Isla San Martin - just north of Bahia San Quintin.  It's a tiny extinct volcano with a little temporary fishing camp.

We left San Diego a week and a day ago for an overnight to Ensenada where we got to have all sorts of fun adventures.  From a cheese and strawberry ice cream (YUM!) to a Seafood Tostada from a street cart, to meandering through Mercado Los Globos to refresh our spices, to a $2 showing of Bohemian Rhapsody.  We had a great time but wanted to move on.  So Thursday, we headed out of the marina and have been stopping at a different anchorage each night.  

Santa Tomas is pictured above.  To get in, we needed to weave through stalks of seaweed.  The water clarity was amazing and we could just make out the bottom about 30 feet below - it was spectacular.
Because we went to sleep at an embarrassingly early time (7pm), we were up early and I was reminded of the many mornings Matey used to get me up while down here last time.  I had completely forgotten how stunning the light can be with the desert terrain and mirror water to reflect the beautiful light around.  

Last night we were at Cabo Colonet which is shaped like a nose, we anchored in the nostril area.  The cliffs along the show had what looked like carvings.

Today we were enroute to San Quinntin when a friend of ours saw we had left Ensenada and sent us a note about Isla San Martin which where they were.  It's easy to overlook, but they were loving it.....  Since it was on the way to San Quintin, we decided to check it out on the way - and are staying a couple of nights.

Tomorrow we'll get in some exploring, and tonight we'll sleep well - but we've been sleeping well every night.

Buzz our dinghy ashore looking out to the anchorage.

A camp for a fisherman on Isla San Martin at sunset.

Pura Vida at anchor.